Tuesday, February 25, 2014

What a Mess!

One thing your barber will tell you about the longer hairstyles of today is that they need extra care.

Is that a palm tree over there on the right?  No?  You mean that’s just your hair?

Mike Bruhert was up for only one year, going 4-11, with a 4.78 ERA and 1.534 WHIP. He was, however, 6’6”. Way to be tall, Mike!

Wikipedia tells me that Mike is the “former son-in-law of former New York Mets manager Gil Hodges.” The former Gil Hodges, that is.

It’s hard to believe “Johnny” got into this blog for something other than that name. 

John Wockenfuss was a backup / platoon catcher with a pretty decent stick. In particular, he could hit the long ball, clubbing 15 homers in less than 250 at bats one year. He broke 300 at bats once, and 200 at bats twice, in a 12-year career.

He may be most famous, though, for his batting stance. He basically turned his back to the pitcher, putting his feet very closely together and pointing his lead foot back at the umpire. You can check it out right here.

For some reason, “Fuss” made it into the Delaware Sports Hall of Fame (though he was born in West Virginia).

Eduardo Rodriguez is a former president of Bolivia, a Venezuelan movie director, a Mexican actor, a Colombian soccer player, a former major league baseball player – and an extremely common name. In fact, there are two pitchers with the same moniker – our guy (who retired in 1979) and another guy who is active right now (heck, he’s only 20) in the Orioles organization. 

The guy on the card was up for seven years, all but one of those years with the Brew Crew. He finished with a 42-36 record, a 3.89 ERA, and 32 saves. 

The little trophy? That actually wasn't on the real card. The guy at baseballcardbust.com likes to add those to deserving candidates.

Perhaps a stylist could help you get that evened out a little bit, Pat.

Pat Dobson has already been in this blog. There, I complimented Pat on his mouth breather tendencies. I do like the smile, though. A much better look, if you ask me.

In that previous post, I noted that Pat was not a bad pitcher. In addition to the 20-win season I mentioned there, Pat also won 19 once and 16 twice. Unfortunately, he also lost 18 once, leading the AL that year.

Overall, Pat won over 100, though he did finish with a winning percentage just a little on the wrong side of .500. Comparable pitchers include Joaquin Andujar, Ed Whitson, Bill Singer, and – are you ready for this? – none other than Van Lingle Mungo (real name).

Steve Stone is another repeat offender. In fact, this is his second hair-related offence.

In that first post, I mentioned his prowess on the field, but I think most of know Steve as an announcer. Personally, I used to love the interaction between Steve and Harry Caray on WGN, a pair of opposites if there ever was one. I also liked the way he could “tell it like it is,” though that was what was behind his leaving the Cubbies. He and Hawk Harrelson make a pretty good team for the White Sox as well.

I’m thinking this guy’s last name should be Mussy, or Mussedup, or something like that.

Somehow or other, Tony Muser managed to stay in the bigs for nine years as an extremely light-hitting first baseman. I’m talking about seven dingers in almost 1,300 at bats, as well as a .259 career average to boot. Wikipedia’s entry on Tony puts in nicely:

“During his career, Muser played mostly first base, but did not hit for much in the way of average or power at a position that is historically more known for offense than defense.”

The typical baseball lifer, he’s worked as a minor league manager, major league coach, and major league manager. That last bit was with the Royals for parts of six years, for a less than stellar 317-431 record (thought this is the Royals we’re talking about here, folks).

I think you may have heard of this guy before.

George Brett’s Hall of Fame credentials certainly didn’t stop me making fun of him though. I’ve already got him down for looking a little too fresh off the farm.

So, what else is there to say about this guy? Well, I’ll bet you didn’t know that Brett:
  • Was the inspiration for Lordes’ song "Royals"
  • Regularly shits his pants and tells people all about it (see here)   

Sometimes, when the bullpen was really depleted, the Padres liked to go down to the train tracks and see if any of the hobos knew how to throw a baseball.

Vicente Romo has also already been in this blog, where I made fun of his follow-through. I mentioned there that Vicente put in a ton of time in the Mexican League.

Sounds like they have some interestingly named teams south of the border. Some of the teams Romo played for include the Azules de Coatzacoalcos, Olmecas de Tabasco, and Cafeteros (coffee workers?) de Cordoba. Romo had an interesting nickname himself, "Huevo" (“egg”).

Monday, February 17, 2014

Hippie Freaks

Baseball players are always about ten years out of date. Guys with hair like this were actually running around taking LSD, blowing up buildings, and participating in orgies at communes back in the ‘60s. Baseball players, on the other hand, waited until the ‘70s to engage in that kind of behavior. 

I believe they called this an “anglo.”  Kinda like an afro, but – then again – totally not. It was particularly popular for Jewish guys – of which Steve is most definitely.

Indeed, Steve comes in third among Jewish pitchers – behind Ken Holtzmann and some guy named Colfax or Koufax or something – in wins and strikeouts. Overall, he was up for 12 years, winning just over 100 games. 

He had one incredible year, 1980, where he went 25-7 and nabbed the Cy. He also, unfortunately, blew his arm out – primarily by throwing about 50% curve balls. The year after, he went 4-2, and was then out of baseball. He left with no regrets, though, saying once, “I knew it would ruin my arm. But one year of 25–7 is worth five of 15–15.”

Hippie freak and proud of it.

I always liked Ted Simmons. To me, he seemed like one pretty darn good catcher. Others think so too. In fact, the first suggestion for Ted on Google is “ted simmons hall of fame.” Considering his actual HoF vote never topped 4%, though, it sounds like the powers that be may not exactly agree.  

That said, Simmons did put up some pretty good numbers. Over 21 years, he totaled not quite 9000 at bats, almost 250 homers, almost 1400 RBIs, almost 2500 hits, and a .285 average. He was an eight-time All Star as well.

Finally, let’s look at his baseball-reference.com similarity scores. Of his ten most similar players, eight are in the Hall, including fellow catchers Berra and Fisk.

All in all, if it were up to me, I’d be singing that Paul McCartney tune, “Do me a favor / Open the door, and let ‘em in …”

Hey, it’s Tim Lincecum!

Except for the hair, Stan Wall was unfortunately no Tim Lincecum. Stan was up for three years with the Dodgers, tossing 66 innings and finishing 4-6 with a 3.86 ERA. Somehow, he managed to get up to the plate only six times in that span. (And, no, he never did get on base.)

There’s not a lot out there on Stan. It’s not a super uncommon name, though, so our poor guy has to compete with many other Stan Walls – a minority business leader, a boxer, a rugby ref, a street in West Monroe, LA ... My diligent searching also uncovered this rather interesting site, www.stanwall.com, which seems to be encouraging Stans of the world to unite, but which actually makes no sense whatsoever.

That eye is kinda creeping me out.

Rick Auerbach was a middle infielder who somehow managed to parlay very mediocre gifts into ten years in the bigs. I’m talking about a lifetime average of .220 and never topping two figures in homers. 

He did have one year as a regular however. Somehow or other, the Brewers were desperate enough to give him 550 at bats in 1972. He rewarded that vote of confidence with a .218 average, two dingers, and 30 RBIs. He did, though, manage to nab 24 bases. 

I understand he’s also quite the bowler.

Yup, that’s why. Just like I thought. Rick Auerbach, meet Henry Lee Lucas – famous serial killer, and your twin brother, separated at birth.

Ohmigod, it’s Abbie Hoffman.  Steal this base!

Okay, for those of you out there who are a little lacking in the lifetime experience arena (i.e., you happen to be younger than dirt), Abbie Hoffman was this radical hippie guy who went around protesting things and generally stirring things up. He was part of the Chicago Seven (and, no Mr. Millenial, that’s not a rock tribute band). He wrote a book called Steal This Book (get it now?). He had one of those incredible Jewish-guy afros … like Ross here.

Ah yes, Ross Grimsley … Not a bad pitcher, Ross finished with a 124-99 record over 11 years in the bigs.  His dad, Ross Sr. also pitched in the majors.

Abbie Hoffman, RIP

Monday, February 10, 2014


Usually, when you call someone a “bozo,” you typically mean a “a stupid, rude, or insignificant person.” 

You might, however, also be referring to other features, features of the actual Bozo the Clown. For example, a large red nose. Or a huge smile with lots of scary red lipstick. Maybe even huge eyebrows on a deathly white, incredibly long forehead. Or perhaps a bald pate and some upswept, extremely red hair. 

Well, I couldn’t find any cards out there that featured large, round, red noses; or the scary smile; or the incredible eyebrows. But I did find some of that upturned (albeit if not bright red) hair. 

Okay, you bozos, take it away …

Bozo with a wandering eye!

Tom Hausman is one of only 37 major leaguers from South Dakota. That does include a Hall of Famer, though – one George L. Anderson (who you may know better as “Sparky”).

Tom was up for seven years, playing with three pretty hapless teams. He finished with a less than stellar 15-23 record and 3.80 ERA. Somehow or other, though, that resulted in a bio of over 1000 words in Wikipedia. Hmm, maybe his mom wrote it.

Bozo with a moustache!

Stan Thomas also played for three teams, but over only four years. The results were pretty similar though – 11-14 record, 3.70 ERA, and 1.406 WHIP. He was a 27th-round draft pick. Some similar players (none of whom I’ve ever heard of) include:

  • Newt Kimball
  • Gene Pentz
  • Max Leon
  • Dutch Dietz

He does get his own post at Cardboard Gods however. Oddly, though, that post never mentions Stan at all.

Angry Bozo!

Bill Campbell, on the other hand, was a decent pitcher. A reliever, he was up for 15 years, finishing with 126 saves. 

He had two incredible years, ’76 and ’77. In ’76, he compiled an amazing 17-5 record (and without a single start). In ’77, he led the league in saves and was also an All Star. In both years, he won Fireman of the Year, led the league in games finished, and came in the top ten in Cy Young voting. Arm trouble kept him from ever repeating those gaudy numbers.

Bill was one of the first free agents. He left the Twins for the Red Sox, signing a four-year million dollar contract. Wow, a whole million! 

Yup, his nickname was “Soup.” [sigh]

Bozo with the proper hair color!

Another pitcher. Another bad pitcher. Joe Kerrigan was up for four years, played for two teams, and finished with an 8-12 record and a 3.89 ERA. 

Joe was, however, quite successful after hanging up his spikes – as a bullpen and pitching coach. He started in 1983, and finally gave it up in 2010. He coached for the Expos, Red Sox, Phillies, Yankees, and Pirates.

Joe also tried his hand at managing. That didn’t turn out so well. Joe took over the Red Sox mid-season in 2001, signing a one-year contract. A 17-26 record, however, earned him a quick pink slip. 

Not quite Bozo material, but I just love the total asymmetry here. 

Another short, nondescript career. Bob Apodaca was up for four years, all with the Mets. Primarily a reliever, he finished with 26 saves and a rather nice 2.86 ERA and 1.226 WHIP. 

Like Kerrigan, Apodaca made his name later, as a pitching coach. Bob started in 1981 and kept it up until 2012. He was famous for coaching decent performances out of the poor, shell-shocked Rockies staff.

BTW, I understand “apodaca” is Spanish for “middle reliever.”

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Jose Cardenal: Second Cousin Twice Removed of Gamble

“Mr. Cardenal, I played with Bake McBride.  I knew Bake McBride.  Bake McBride was a friend of mine.  Mr. Cardenal, you're no Bake McBride.”

Jose Cardenal has already been cited in this blog before, for his hat. In this post, we will focus on his hair. Once again, it’s not quite Gambelian (or even McBridesque), but it’s definitely in the same state.

Another similarity is that Jose was a pretty darn good player as well. Over an 18-year career, Jose tallied over 2000 games, almost 7000 at bats, almost 1000 runs, 138 homers, 329 steals, and a .275 average. A rifle-armed outfielder, he led his league in assists twice, but also in errors twice as well.

Quite a character, Jose was also a big fan favorite.

This may be totally off base, but if Jose’s skin was green, I swear I couldn’t tell him apart from the Wicked Witch of the West.

1974. Though Jose played with nine teams during his 18 years in the bigs, he actually was with the Cubs for six. I guess things agreed with him there. He certainly seems happy.

Am I right?  No?  Ah, never mind then.

I was thinking of putting Jose and the little Cubbie on his shoulder in the Separated at Birth entry.

1975. Jose Cardenal fun fact: he’s cousins with Bert Campaneris.

It’s hard to keep a hat on with all that ‘fro.

1977. The last year Jose would get over 500 at bats. :^(

A new team, a new look. Well, not exactly.

1978. Jose Cardenal fun fact: he was only 5’10” and 150 lbs.

Jose, let me be honest.  It’s just not a look for us older guys.

1981. Jose’s last year. Though he got only 53 at bats with the Royals, he did hit .343. Way to go out with a bang, dude!

After retirement, Jose served as a coach for many years, for the Reds, Cardinals, Yankees and Devil Rays. He most recently served as a special advisor to the Nationals’ GM.

Wait a minute.  Who is this guy?

1966. Jose did pretty well in that rookie year – 500-plus at bats, 11 homers, and 37 steals. God, he looks young – especially compared to that last card.